Back to his Asian acting roots

Daniel Wu got to do a lot of action scenes playing the head of security of a medical facility in Sky On Fire.
Daniel Wu got to do a lot of action scenes playing the head of security of a medical facility in Sky On Fire.PHOTO: ENCORE FILMS

Actor Daniel Wu has been busy working in Hollywood, but when Hong Kong action thriller Sky On Fire came calling, he signed on without reading the script

Chinese-American actor Daniel Wu has been doing well in Hollywood lately - he has a role in the movie Warcraft (2016) and his TV series Into The Badlands has been renewed for a second season.

But he has not forgotten his Hong Kong acting roots.

In fact, he was so eager to return to the territory to work on the action thriller Sky On Fire, he did not even read the script before signing on.

"I've always wanted to work with director Ringo Lam - I enjoy his films and he has been an idol of mine long before I joined the industry.

"When he stopped making films, I thought I would never get to work with him, but then he suddenly decided to go back to work two years ago, so of course I had to accept this role offer immediately," Wu, 42, tells The Straits Times in a telephone interview in English.

I had a simple fighting scene with Li Haitao, who is known as a boxing king in China. I was supposed to pull his T-shirt, but in doing that, I accidentally knocked my face right into his forehead.

ACTOR DANIEL WU on getting his nose broken on the second day of filming Sky

Lam, 60, is an award-winning Hong Kong film-maker whose best film is probably City On Fire (1987), which has inspired Hollywood directors such as Quentin Tarantino. He was most prolific in the 1980s and 1990s, but his output slowed down after 2000. Last year, he directed Wild City, his first film in eight years.

His latest film Sky On Fire is centred around Sky One, a medical facility that is constantly the target of robbery as it contains controversial stem-cell technology that can cure terminal diseases.

Playing the action-heavy lead role as the building's head of security, Wu got his nose broken on just the second day of shooting.

"I had a simple fighting scene with Li Haitao, who is known as a boxing king in China. I was supposed to pull his T-shirt, but in doing that, I accidentally knocked my face right into his forehead. There was a mirror next to us and I could see that my nose was completely slanted," he says.

Wu, who is married to model Lisa Selesner and has a three-year-old daughter, Raven, with her, was speaking to The Straits Times from Dublin, Ireland, where he is shooting the second season of martial arts drama Into The Badlands.

Although he says that the level of professionalism is the same across Hollywood and Hong Kong production crews, he gets a lot more rest on a Hollywood production.

"In Hong Kong, you can work up to 18 to 20 hours straight, but Ireland requires people to work only 10 hours a day, so I can get home at 6pm to spend time with my family," he says .

The food on Hollywood sets is also on another level compared with that in Hong Kong.

Wu says with a laugh: "The catering service for Into The Badlands is amazing - there is a huge salad bar and there are steaks and sushi. In Hong Kong, the roast meat lunch boxes are tasty, but you eat the same thing every day.

"But that's a small matter. When I accept a role, it's not because it's Asian or Hollywood. It's because I want to work with someone or the story intrigues me. I go where the work is interesting to me."

• Follow Yip Wai Yee on Twitter @STyipwaiyee

• Sky On Fire opens in cinemas tomorrow.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2016, with the headline 'Back to his Asian acting roots'. Print Edition | Subscribe